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It’s been a WEEK in Gaming

You know it’s been a good week in gaming news when you hit the weekend not knowing entirely where to start. PlayStation have put up their prices, Nintendo and Microsoft haven’t, and Amazon were buying EA (before they weren’t).

That’s before we mention the now-finished sale of Square Enix’s western studios to Embracer, the Japanese call against PlayStation exclusivity and all this one a week that started with Sony being sued.

And all of this has been set against the backdrop of GamesCom.

It’s a rollercoaster. And I’m going to try to attempt to break it all down.

A Busy Week in Gaming

If every week was like this, my job would be impossible. At the tail end of E3, I wrote about how difficult it is becoming to write about gaming when nothing ever happens. Everything is marketing-friendly and carefully planned. Please be excited about this new gun design. Please applaud for this totally generic slice of our game. Etcetera etcetera.

When PlayStation announced they were putting up their console prices – a first in the gaming industry – it caused widespread upset, and rightly so. It’s only a small increase – £30 here in the UK, and similar amounts everywhere but the US – but against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, it was very misjudged. Imagine sitting in that meeting. You’re selling everything you have anyway, why not increase the price to cover your increased losses?

Because it’s a dick move is why. People have waited years for easy access to stock. Now they’re being punished with extra cost. That isn’t right.

Microsoft and Nintendo will not be putting up prices at this time. That is the simplest PR win in the world. The Xbox/PlayStation value comparison has been leaning green since before the start of this generation. Now it is undeniable. PC even more so.

A Final Fantasy

In fact, the increase in cost has led to calls from the Japanese gaming community to cancel exclusivity for Final Fantasy XVI. It will only be available on PlayStation 5 for its first six months. Which is fine, if you have a console, can find a console or can afford a console.They have asked that it also be released to Steam, which isn’t going to happen.

It’s not going to sell well in Japan. It’ll probably be relatively disappointing worldwide. Final Fantasy VII Remake sold five million copies in its first few months on PlayStation 4. The long-awaited remake of a beloved classic was one of the first major releases of the pandemic, when people were desperate for entertainment. Life has returned to relative normality now. The corona gaming boom is over. There are only about 20 million PlayStation 5s in the wild. Do the maths.

You won’t be the only one. Amazon did the maths and decided EA wasn’t worth the purchase apparently, if they were ever really buying them at all.

USA Today reported the deal was going to be announced Friday. Other sources quickly discovered this wasn’t the case and the whole thing was forgotten about an hour later.

But had there been any truth to the original story? I don’t think we’ll ever know.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott